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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Leroy Beavers, August 8, 2002. Interview R-0170. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Black nightclubs

Black nightclubs in Savannah were superior to white nightclubs, so much so that white patrons crossed the color line to enter them.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Leroy Beavers, August 8, 2002. Interview R-0170. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

Someone was telling me about, you would've been pretty young, but Sloppy.
Oh yeah. I didn't know Sloppy personally, Sloppy. I didn't know Sloppy but from word of mouth. But where we stayed at was right across the street from where he lived at, but my father used to work for him, and I don't know if it's good to say it. They were gangsters. I don't know if it's good to say that, but to me and from the listen to what they say, they were gangsters. Count money all night long, and then you have to take, shifts to come and count money. Count money until he got sick. Sloppy had to lend the city of Savannah money. I do remember the Flamingo Club they had on Greenwich Street with the Flamingo Diner was. It was a night club, the Flamingo. A lot of these kids and guys people don't really know, but the ballrooms that they had on MLK and on Gwinnett Street, they rivaled any one the white folks had. They were very lavish.
I'm sure the entertainment was a whole lot better.
Much better. As a matter of fact, that's who came.
The white clientele.
White, exactly. That's who came. They didn't go to, they had a white club called Bamboo Ranch. They didn't go there. Nobody but the rednecks went, the really diehard, not going to give up, hate you the rest of my damned life. That's who went there. But hell yeah. Then they had Gunnies. That's another club that they had here. Old black man, now he was the one I think one other than Mr. Sloppy, the other entrepreneur in Savannah, Georgia, because he had owned real estate, and he had owned a night club. His night club was very respectable. You did not come into his night club with a loud mouth. I hear these men talking don't go into Gunnie's like that. You might go out to Harris's name of the place, Derrick's Inn, Lincoln Inn, but these places were nice places though because they'd, I hear my father talking about the suits they used to wear and the ladies had the gowns on and men wore the wing-tipped alligator shoes. I would sit and just I had put that picture in my head, and at the time I would come up, there wasn't any place like that in Savannah. This is since before my time. This was during the time of when Duke and Count Basie were really doing their thing, yeah, yeah, doing their thing.